Khalil (Pashtun tribe)

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The Khalil (Pashto: خليل‎) is a Pashtun tribe son of GhoryaKhel Pashtun living in Pakistan with some members in Nangarhar, Herat, Ghazni , Qandahar of Afghanistan and In the Peshawar valley, west and south-west of Daudzai lie the settlements of the Khalils. These are bounded on the south by the Bara stream. The Khalils like Mohmands and Daudzais claim to be descendants of (Muhammad Ibrahim) Ghoryakhel, son of Kand. There are eight main sub-divisions in the Khalil tribe.

  • Astanzai
  • Mattezai
  • Barozai
  • Ishakzai
  • Trakzai
  • Noorzai
  • Afuzai
  • Akazai



The Khalils originally lived in central Afghanistan Ghore, and in the Qalat-i-Ghilzai Zabul, and Ghazni area the basin of the Tarnak River north of Ghazni. After the Mongols invaded the region in the 13th century, the Khalils, along with the Mohmands who were also formerly settled in central Afghanistan, were driven out. The Khalils first migrated northeastwards to Kabul and then further eastwards along the Kabul River to their present settlement in the Peshawar valley.[1]

A section of Khalil tribe to the north-west, known as the Garhis, was originally the joint property of the Khalil and Daudzai tribes. It was subsequently given as seri to Mians from whom the Khalil Arbabs purchased it and the latter are now the owners. Different Governments (Mughals and the British, etc.) in the past bestowed the title of Arbabi on some powerful individuals of some tribes for siding with them in different wars and conflicts with the other non complying tribes and people, mainly pukhtoons, in different times. they would also be given certain responsibilities/services which they would render on behalf of the governments of the time.The Khalils and theire ally the Afridis were first mentioned in the memoirs of Mughal Emperor Babar, as violent tribes in need of subduing.[13] The Khalils controlled the Khyber Pass, which has historically served as a corridor connecting the Indian subcontinent with Afghanistan and Central Asia. Its strategic value was not lost on the Mughals, to whom the Khalils were implacably hostile.[14] Over the course of Mughal rule, Emperors Akbar and Jahangir both dispatched punitive expeditions to suppress the Khalils, to little success.[15] The Khalils once destroyed two large Mughal armies of Emperor Aurangzeb: in 1672 in a surprise attack between Peshawar and Kabul, and in the winter of 1673 in an ambush in the mountain passes.[16] The emperor himself had to lead an army into the mountains to suffocate the revolt and liberate the mountain passes, and even then another large army was "badly mauled" in Bajaur.[16][17] Allegedly, only five Mughals made it out of the battle alive.[18][19][20] Resistance against the British The British connexion with the Adam Khel Khalils commenced immediately after the annexation of the Peshawar and Kohat districts. Following the example of all previous rulers of the country, the British agreed to pay the tribe a subsidy to protect the pass. But in 1850 a thousand Khalils attacked a body of British sappers engaged in making a road, killing twelve and wounding six. It was supposed that they disliked the making of a road which would lay open their fastnesses to regular troops. An expedition of 3200 British troops was despatched, which traversed the country and punished them. When the Khalils of the Kohat Pass resisted in 1850, the Jowaki Khalils offered the use of their route instead; but they turned out more aggressive than the others, and in 1853 a force of 1700 British traversed their country and destroyed their stronghold at Bori. In 1854 the Aka Khels Khalils, not finding themselves admitted to a share of the allowances of the Kohat Pass, commenced a series of raids on the Peshawar border and attacked a British camp. An expedition of 1500 troops entered the country and inflicted severe punishment on the tribe, who made their submission and paid a fine.

Khalil fighters photographed by John Burke in 1878. In 1877 the British government proposed to reduce the Jowaki allowance for guarding the Kohat Pass, and the tribesmen showed their resentment of this by cutting the telegraph wire and raiding into British territory. A force of 1500 troops penetrated their country in three columns, and did considerable damage by way of punishment. However, the attitude of the Jowakis continued the same and their raids into British territory went on. A much stronger force, therefore, of 7400 British troops, divided into three columns, in 1877–78 destroyed their principal villages and occupied their country for some time, until the tribe submitted and accepted government terms. The Kohat Pass was afterwards practically undisturbed. At the time of the British advance into Afghanistan in 1878, during the Second Afghan War, the Zakka Khel opposed the British advance and attacked their outposts. A force of 2500 British troops traversed their country, and the tribesmen made their submission. The Khalils of the Khyber Pass continued to cause the British trouble during the progress of the Second Afghan War, so another force of 3750 British troops traversed their country, and after suffering some loss the tribesmen made their submission. In 1897 suddenly Khalils rose, captured all the posts in the Khyber held by their own countrymen, and attacked the forts on the Samana Range near the city of Peshawar. Tirah Expedition of the British forces followed and negotiations for peace were then begun with the Khalils, who under the threat of another expedition into Tirah in the spring of 1898 at length agreed to pay the fines and to surrender the rifles demanded. In the February 1908 the restiveness of the Mulagori Tribe again made a British expedition necessary, but the campaign was speedily ended, though in the following April he had again to proceed against the Mohmands, the situation being complicated by an incursion from Afghanistan


Since 16th century, most Khalils are residing in the west and south west of Peshawar Valley. The head of the Khalil tribe was Arbab Muhammad Jahangir Khan Khalil (Late), who had truly represented the tribe. Sardar Garhi, Tehkal bala , Tehkal payan , Palosi, Regi, Patwar, Mulazai, Naguman , Lakarai, Abdara, Sufaid Dheri, Pawakka, Nawan Kali bala ,and Peshta Khara are also the major residing areas of Khalils. The geographical location of Khalil is 20 kilo metre by 15 kilo metre[clarification needed] Peshta Khara payan , peshta khara bala,Landi akhone ahmad,sango,sarband,Achini bala , Achini payan , Nawan Kali Payan and ends at nishtrabad some say budnai, Tehkal is the hub of Khalil. There are two big sub sections one is Malik and second is Arbab.

Islamia College University[edit]

Notable individuals of the Malik tribe, such as Arbab Ghulam Haider Khan and Sahibzada Abdul Qayum Khan helped found Islamia College University in Peshawar. reputedly, Sahibzada Abdul Qayum Khan traveled to Peshawar for studies and as there were no hostels available at that time, he decided to live in a mosque. In 1911, after completing his education and holding various government posts, he came back to Tehkal and asked the Maliks and Arbabs to sell the land which is now the site of Peshawar University to build the college there.

Sufaid Sung[edit]

Arbabs residing in Landi Arbab are known as "Momand" tribe. Arbabs residing in Tehkal are known as "Khalil" tribe and the Khalil Arbab belong to the Mitta khel sub-section of Ishakzai . The Mitta khel hold their ancestral property, including the Garhis, revenue free on payment of only one quarter of the assessments. The sub divisions of the Khalil tribe living in village Sufaid Sung are:

  • Isa Khel
  • Wand Khel
  • Bhai Khel
  • Suruzai
  • Musazai


  1. ^ Tate, George Passman. The Kingdom of Afghanistan: A Historical Sketch, 1911. Page 14.